|Videos||News Feed||Syndicate the Show||About|
Jan 24, 2011: Preview of the Year's Marriage Fights: This Week in Prop 8 for January 24, 2011
A busy week for marriage equality all around the country, with new cracks appearing in the Defense of Marriage Act. Meanwhile, a slew of bills appeared this week in various states, both for and against marriage.
We're starting to get a clearer picture of what marriage battles across the country are going to look like in 2011. It's going to be a busy year. Keep an eye on Wyoming, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Washington DC.
And on a national level, a new lawsuit is challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. That's Dragovich versus the U S Department of the Treasury, and it has a very good shot at overturning at least part of DOMA. The case advanced this week with a judge ruling that it should proceed.
What makes the Dragovich case different is the plaintiffs: three gay couples who work for the state. As public employees, they can't access the same health coverage as straight couples because of DOMA, even though California considers them married.
DOMA's days are clearly numbered, and even though Obama's Justice Department is defending the marriage ban, they're not defending it very hard. The Government's argument is that DOMA provides federal uniformity in denying rights, which is true. But as Judge Claudia Wilken pointed out this week, that's not a good enough reason to keep the law.
It's important to note the arguments that Justice isn't using. They're not claiming that marriage needs to be "protected" from gay couples, which is the argument that conservatives usually use.
Conservatives like Michael Steele, who by the way is out of a job. The chair of the Republican National Committee was voted out this week, replaced by a man named Reince Preibus. Gay Republican group GOProud offered Priebus their congratulations, saying, "Today is a good day for conservatives and for the Republican Party."
But it's not a great day for gays. Look at what Pribus said an interview with the National Organization for Marriage last month:
"Marriage is an important issue because it's a gift from God and the sanctity of marriage ought to be protected ... I believe that the Defense of Marriage Act is important."
It is important. Just don't get too attached to it.
Turning to states, there was a flurry of activity all around the country this week.
Maryland Democrats introduced a marriage equality bill on Friday, with hearings scheduled for February first, and a full senate vote likely to happen before March. Keep your eyes out for a lobbying day in Annapolis on February 14.
In New York, Senator Thomas Duane announced plans to introduce marriage equality legislation this spring.
But in Iowa, Republicans have introduced a resolution that wouldn't just eliminate marriage equality -- it would get rid of civil unions and domestic partnerships, too.
That fight's being led by the Iowa Family Policy Center. This is an organization that has compared gay couples to cigarette smoke, and promotes abusive ex-gay brainwashing therapy.
In Wyoming, they're pushing a bill that would invalidate marriages performed in other states. That one has a good chance of passing.
But there's good news in DC, where this week the Supreme Court refused to consider whether the District's marriage equality law should go before voters. NOM is promising to continue that fight, but at this point, the only avenues left open to them are long shots.
And in New Hampshire, Republicans appear to be putting the anti-gay rhetoric on hold this year. And that's driving the National Organization for Marriage crazy. They sent out mailers this week, accusing Republicans of opposing family values.
So far, NOM's pressure tactics have failed. But just in case, Courage Campaign and Granite State Progress are holding Camp Courage training sessions later this spring, so we'll be ready if the situation changes.
So, between Maryland, New York, Iowa, Wyoming, DC, and New Hampshire, you're pretty much guaranteed to know someone living in a marriage equality battleground state.
What are you going to do to get involved? Leave a comment, letting us know how you plan to reach out to friends and family on this issue. And then, go do it.
You can use Facebook to get friends and family involved, and it only takes a minute. Just post a link on their wall to some news coverage about their state, and ask them, "hey, did you hear about this?" That's all you've got to do to get the conversation started.
And if you're looking for that news coverage, head on over to Stop8.org. We have all the latest headlines from around the country, so you can find the news about what's happening no matter where you live.
Last week was Martin Luther King Junior Day, and that's a good opportunity to reflect on the words of his late wife, Coretta Scott King, who said,
"I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people. ... Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union."
Keep in Touch